The Social Democrats accused the right-of-centre government of pessimism, infighting and wage dumping on Wednesday, as leader Stefan Löfven introduced new proposals to shore up the welfare state and boost jobs.
Published: 20 Feb 2013 10:57 CET
The Social Democrats accused the right-of-centre government of pessimism, infighting and wage dumping on Wednesday, as leader Stefan Löfven introduced new proposals to shore up the welfare state and boost jobs if the party takes power in the 2014 elections.
"The right-of-centre government is putting forward hardly any new proposals to parliament, they're instead embroiled in attacking each other," Löfven said about the four political parties that form the Alliance government.
He further said that the infighting and lack of concrete policy-making was damaging to Sweden by fostering despondency about the country's ability to compete on the global market.
He also said it paved the way for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party to entice new members and to grow its voter base.
"The coalition parties don't seem to be able to, want to, or even have the energy to take on today's challenges," he said.
"As far as the government is concerned, it's always someone else's fault. If it's not the EU, it's the fault of immigrants."
Speaking to The Local, Löfven said Sweden had to get better at benefiting from foreign-born job seekers' education and experience.
"We've seen in several surveys that if you have a foreign-sounding name, Swedish employers might not even invite you to an interview," he said.
"It is idiotic that Sweden doesn't use the resources at its disposal."
He further said that while Euro scepticism had also reached Sweden due to the financial crisis, any talk of a Swexit, in the mould of a union membership referendum proposed in the UK, would ultimately be damaging to Sweden.
"We need to make people feel that not only is the EU important but we can change how it works," he told The Local.
"We need a competitive continent, which will benefit Sweden and Swedish jobs."
Löfven spent a large part of Wednesday's press conference reiterating that the welfare state and employment were part and parcel of the same goal, to keep the Swedish standard of living among the world's highest.
He accused the government of structural wage dumping by wanting to introduce one-year high school programmes and have certain courses that do not give students the opportunity to go on to further education. Such measures would ultimately dump wages across the board, he warned.
The traditionally labour party said its proposals would also benefit the middle class in Sweden.
"For the middle class, a decision to study further should benefit your career, we want mobility on the labour market," he told The Local.
As part of our ongoing series of Swedish career profiles, The Local catches up with American Billy McCormac to find out how he went from refurbishing antique furniture to heading one of Sweden's most influential real estate lobbying organizations.
Foreigners who arrive in Sweden with a university degree can find it tough to find a job that matches their education from back home. The Local talks with Josefin Edström, an expert in employment issues for foreign degree holders, to learn the top tips for a smooth transition.
After a bumpy ride on Sweden's unemployment roller coaster that ended with a position at Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, Jessica Nkusi, an HR consultant from Rwanda, has learned a thing or two about finding a job in Sweden.
Unable to find good Mexican food after moving to Stockholm to study in 2008, Monterrey native David Licona now finds himself running La Neta, one of the most popular Mexican eateries in the Swedish capital. The Local finds out more.
Since 2008, migrants to Sweden can swap course from seeking asylum to seeking a work visa with the help of an employer. The Local speaks to one migrant who praises the system, while saying it could be improved.
Swedish companies need to keep the power to hire foreign workers, argues Karin Ekenger of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, who fears letting government agencies and unions determine who can work in Sweden will hurt firms' ability to compete globally.
As white-collar union Saco slammed Sweden for not helping well-educated foreigners into the labour market, The Local spoke to researcher Josefin Edström about the disconnect between foreign professionals and Swedish employers.
The white-collar union Saco has lambasted Sweden's Employment Agency for its failure to help well-educated, foreign-born job seekers, whose unemployment rate is more than three times the average for people born in Sweden.